CLEVELAND (AP) Alex Rios tripled home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 Tuesday night.Cleveland closer Chris Perez (0-1) yielded a leadoff single to Paul Konerko, who was replaced by pinch runner Brent Lillibridge. After A.J. Pierzynski fouled out, Rios lined a ball over the head of second baseman Jason Kipnis that rolled all the way to the wall in right-center as Lillibridge easily scored.Rios scored on a fielder's choice, beating the throw home from Kipnis, who fielded a ground ball hit by Alexei Ramirez.Hector Santiago (1-1) pitched the ninth for his first career win and Addison Reed worked a perfect 10th for his second save as Chicago won for the second time in eight games.Rios was in a 3 for 18 skid until getting two singles off starter Justin Masterson - and his second career triple off Perez. He also hit a walkoff grand slam off Cleveland's closer Sept. 10.Perez allowed only one run over his previous 13 outings.Carlos Santana's two-run single off Chris Sale tied it at 3 with a three-run eighth. Until then the Indians had been shut out on four hits by John Danks.Danks left after yielding singles to Casey Kotchman and Jack Hannahan to open the eighth. Hannahan's ball fell just in front of left fielder Dayan Viciedo, who pulled up near the foul line.Sale came on and got Johnny Damon to hit a slow roller to shortstop Ramirez, who booted it for an error, loading the bases.Kipnis grounded out to first, scoring Kotchman and Asdrubal Cabrera walked, reloading the bases. Santana then lined a ball inches from Sale's shoulder and into center field to tie it.It was Sale's first appearance since being chosen as Chicago's closer by manager Robin Ventura last week. Sale went 3-1 in five starts, including a 7-2 win over Cleveland on May 1.Indians starter Justin Masterson made 27 pitches in the first inning, allowing five hits and falling behind 2-0.One run scored on a groundout by Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski added an RBI single.Cleveland put a runner on third with no outs in the seventh, but Danks quickly got out of it.Santana doubled on a full-count pitch and took third on a wild pitch before Shelley Duncan walked.Shin-Soo Choo then popped to center on the first pitch and Michael Brantley lined to Konerko at first base, who quickly tagged Duncan for a double play before the baserunner could get back to the bag.Masterson, who worked 8 1-3 strong innings to beat Danks in his previous start, struggled to throw strikes, but kept Cleveland in the game. The right-hander allowed six hits and two runs over six innings, walking five.He twice got out of jams by getting the White Sox to bounce into double plays, both started by third baseman Hannahan.Pierzynski made it 3-0 in the seventh with an RBI groundout after Chicago loaded the bases against reliever Dan Wheeler on two singles and a walk.Danks gave up two runs and five hits over seven innings.Notes: Ramirez went 0 for 5 and is in a 3 for 24 slump. ... Cleveland LHP Nick Hagadone struck out the side in the ninth, one day after earning his first career save. ... When Hagadone and Tony Sipp saved both ends of a doubleheader Monday, it was the first time since the save became an official statistic in 1969 that two different Cleveland lefties did it in a twinbill. ... In the first game, LHP Jose Quintana worked 5 2-3 scoreless innings, the longest scoreless stretch by a White Sox pitcher in his major-league debut since Jack McDowell's seven scoreless in 1987. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner, hitting .161 this year against lefties, got most of the night off against Danks. Hafner struck out as a pinch hitter for the final out.
Just how valuable is Jose Abreu to the White Sox?
Well, whenever you join Albert Pujols and Joe DiMaggio as the only baseball players ever to do something, you must be pretty darn valuable.
Abreu joined that elite company Saturday night, driving in both runs in the White Sox forgettable 8-2 loss to the visiting Kansas City Royals. Those RBIs brought his total to 100 on the season, making him the third major leaguer ever to hit at least 25 homers and drive in at least 100 runs in his first four seasons.
“Every year after a season I meet with my family and we review my season and my stats. Last year when we had the meeting, I told them next year I’m gonna hit 30 homers, I’m gonna drive in at least 100 and I did it,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I was able to do it and that’s something that made me feel proud of myself and proud of my family, too, because they have been the ones who have been supported me through my whole career."
Abreu’s known as an extremely hard worker, a template to follow for many if not all of the youngsters coming up as the future stars of the White Sox rebuild. And so it makes this moment all the sweeter for him and those around him.
“It is especially important not just for me but for my family and my team,” Abreu said. “I think that this is a reward for the effort and all the work you put in for preparation for your season. It’s special when you get this kind of result and consistency in your stats. But the most important thing is it’s a reward for my family. And this organization, maybe we are not in the position we want to be right now as a team, but I know that better times are to come.”
“He works extremely hard,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I think everybody was feeling it for him tonight. He’s been pushing. He fouled a ball off of his left shin the other day, and you see him kind of gimping around there. … He’s not one to do anything to deter from continuing to help the team win first and foremost, but along the way he’s able to collect some individual merit points, so to speak. And put himself in a very special class.”
The big question surrounding Abreu isn’t whether he’s worthy of being the leader the young White Sox of the future need to turn rebuilding mode into contending mode a few years down the line. The question is whether he’ll still be around by then. His final year of arbitration is 2019, meaning if the White Sox are looking at 2020 as the year of true contention, it will take a new contract to keep Abreu in town.
A few things factor into that, of course. No. 1, Abreu could continue this consistently terrific pace and be lured away by another team willing to spend more to acquire his services. No. 2, though, is his age. He’ll be 33 years old when the 2020 season starts, and while that’s not old by most standards, it means he’ll demand a big contract — and likely a lengthy one — as he reaches the latter part of his prime. It’s not to suggest Abreu will dramatically slow down in terms of production, but it will most definitely be under consideration as the White Sox look to keep their window of contention open as long as possible.
For what it’s worth, Abreu is constantly thanking the White Sox organization for the opportunity to do what he’s done over the past four seasons, and he’s said how much he wants to keep playing for this franchise.
What is of no question, however, is Abreu’s worth as a top-of-the-line offensive player. His totals with a week’s worth of games left in the 2017 season: 31 homers, 100 RBIs and a .305/.356/.551 slash line. All those percentages would be his highest since his outstanding rookie season in 2014.
And his worth as a leader, as a guy who could be a rallying point for all these young players, that’s pretty darn valuable, too.
“I haven’t (tonight) made light of what I believe he’s becoming as part of this organization and what he is as far as what he does for the team,” Renteria said. “You got a couple of young men in there that are growing up and becoming a part of what I believe are leaders within that clubhouse. And he’s one of them. He’s certainly deserves it. He’s earned it. He’s worked for it. He’s been in this organization since the inception of his major league career. He’s someone that we all are happy is a part of us.”
It’s been more than two weeks since Carlos Rodon was shut down for the season, one day after he was scratched from a start with shoulder inflammation.
And while we know Rodon won’t pitch again in 2017 — a season with just a little more than a week remaining for the rebuilding White Sox — the team still doesn’t know, or still isn’t ready to say, exactly what’s wrong with the former first-round draft pick.
“We’re just trying to get it right,” Rodon said before Saturday night’s game against the visiting Kansas City Royals. “Still trying to figure everything out and take everything we can and put it all together to get the most information and do what’s best for me and for this team.”
That kind of non-update might raise some red flags in the minds of White Sox fans, curious as to what is the latest ailment for a pitcher who missed three months this season while recovering from biceps bursitis.
Rodon was slated to get reevaluated shortly after that early September injury. He was, but no news came of it, at least not yet.
“Pretty similar to what our doc said,” Rodon said of that follow-up evaluation. “Like I said, we’re trying to still gather all the information and figure out what we’re going to do from there.”
Rodon ended his third season in the bigs with a 4.15 ERA in 69.1 innings of work. And while the White Sox still believe he’ll be a huge part of their starting staff moving forward, it’s plenty acceptable to wonder what kind of effects this season of injuries will have on Rodon as the franchise’s rebuild chugs along.
“He continues to be a big part of what we believe is the future of the organization,” manager Rick Renteria said after explaining several times that the team is still trying to figure out what’s wrong with Rodon. “Unfortunately, this year he's been down quite a bit. So assuming he comes back in a good situation and is healthy and is capable of going out and performing, he fits into one of the five guys that are going to be out there for us next season.”
For his part, Rodon is 100-percent confident he’ll be good to go for next year’s campaign.
“I just know that I’ll be ready for next season,” Rodon said. “The goal is to be ready for next year and be healthy through all of next season.”
That, though, will be the million-dollar question as the White Sox starting rotation of the future begins to take shape. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are already penciled in for 2018, and Michael Kopech’s 2017 campaign in the minors was so sensational, he could potentially pitch himself into that starting five, too. With younger names like Alec Hansen and Dane Dunning also doing work in the minors, someone’s going to be the odd man out.
Rodon still has the confidence of his organization. But will he have the health to make that confidence pay off?